Past the Middle of February

February 19, 2014

Gracious Living Day by DayWe are past the middle of February and even though the cold has been intense and the snow bounteous, there is a different feeling in the air.

As I shoveled our driveway yesterday, I got so overheated I had to take my jacket off and work in a sweater. The ice patch in front of our steps has developed tiny rivulets under its surface. The birds have been visiting the bird feeder, and their morning song has lasted for longer and longer stretches. When I wake up at 7 am a promising wisp of light is discernible through the window curtains. When we sit down to dinner at 6 pm the sun still hasn’t set.

Like Napoleonic armies retreating from Moscow, the winter is still showing its outer might, but its spirit is broken. We can all feel it.

Through my window Through my window

This transitional cycle between seasons would feel intolerably protracted but this year I thank goodness for the Olympic games! Like most foreigners I love the Olympic games and sometimes marvel at how much time I, and my European friends (mostly middle aged and elderly ladies,) are willing to spend watching sports that we care nothing about: luge, bobsleigh, curling, snowboarding, cross country skiing, speed-skating. Ice skating we like. My husband and sons, who love watching basketball, baseball and football, watch the Olympic sports only under duress.

I love the Olympic games and not for the sports at all. I love the congregation of different peoples all in the same place at the same time. In peace. How often does that happen outside the games? Never. But here they are, these young kids, all carrying their tribal DNA in their features, most of them here not to win medals but to meet young people from places other than their own, to share experiences and to have fun.

To see them all together is to know that winter is not forever and that spring will come after all.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosanna February 19, 2014 at 8:49 pm

As *Baby-Bird* Season approaches, more birds have been visiting our bird feeder, too; and I think some males are~~~very focusedly~~~also practicing their “Mating Songs,” (haha)!!

We have a returning “Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal” at our place………… (i.e., This information is from the New Kensington, PA, Department of Biology: “Cardinals are predominately monogamous and will mate for life. On average, Northern Cardinals live for 3 years in the wild although several individuals have had life spans of 13 to 15 years. The longevity record for a captive northern cardinal is 28 ½ years!”)………… and it’s always simply *l.o.v.e.l.y.*, Liliana, to observe how our two resident cardinals’ feathers………… change in late Winter/early Spring………… from being more subdued………… TO being very *vividly* and *vibrantly* noticeable!!


Liliana February 20, 2014 at 8:31 am

Dear Rosanna,
thanks for the information. We have a number of cardinals (both male and female) coming to our bird feeder, but I never thought that they could be life partners. How lovely is that!
Hugs and good wishes to you.


John February 19, 2014 at 1:52 pm



Jelena February 19, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Well put about the Olympics! There are so few events that are truly international and not acrimonious–that’s very attractive to me. And somehow the shining optimism and boundless energy of those young athletes helps us oldsters get through this dreary winter. I’ve been noticing the birds, too, and the longer days. Both make me feel a quiet joy.


Liliana February 19, 2014 at 12:45 pm

Quiet joy – such beautiful words! We have to remind each other that there are good things in this world. So often I forget.
Love and hugs to you.


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